Sunday, September 13, 2015

Longleaf Alliance Promotes Prescribed Fire in S.C.

Education Equals Success in the Field

If you are planting longleaf pine trees in South Carolina then you have a friend in the Longleaf Academy at the Webb Wildlife Center in Hampton County, to better reach out to landowners from Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina. The three-day course included plenty of classroom time, plus a nice mix of field excursions including an application of growing season prescribed fire. 

Longleaf seedling being burned
The longleaf pine forest that once dominated the Southeastern coastal plain evolved with fire as an integral part of the ecosystem. It is well documented that the range of longleaf pines was drastically reduced due to logging efforts over decades, and changing timber management practices. But that decline has been stopped now, and for the first time in a long while longleaf acreage is actually increasing. Their coffee-table book on Longleaf history makes a fine gift.
Webb Center WMA hosts an August prescribed fire

The Longleaf Alliance was formed in 1995, and they are partnering with state and federal efforts in order to see that the surge in longleaf recovery continues. There are three such Cooperatives in South Carolina including the Sandhills and Sewee regions. But the largest area of conservation is in the South Lowcountry and the ACE Basin, where Bob Franklin of Walterboro represents the Longleaf Alliance in what is better known as the SoloACE.
Johnny Stowe and Bob Franklin compare notes

SCDNR biologist Johnny Stowe was the first speaker at the Fire and Longleaf Academy, sharing his message that prescribed fire is the perfect ingredient for habitat management. He manages state-owned Heritage Preserve lands in S.C., and longleaf on his family farm in Georgia, where he also enjoys battling invasive species like kudzu. Stowe practices what he preaches and is a throwback to the days when boots on the ground were the surest way to figure out something like how to burn a longleaf pine stand and get the best effects from that fire.

Originally from Ridgeland, Randy Tate has had a long and distinguished career in conservation. He presently lives in Savannah and works for the Longleaf Alliance on the Fort Stewart / Altamaha restoration project. Having worked in Georgia for both The Nature Conservancy and GADNR, he is a federally certified RxB2 Burn Boss. His presentation asked the question – Why burn? The answers included reduction of available fuels, a cost-effective way to manage vegetation, and there is even some evidence that it can control tick populations.

To view this article in the newspaper click on Charleston Mercury.

To view past blog entries about conservation click on Migratory Bird Joint Venture Awards - Ag Secretary John Vilsack talks Longleaf 

To view past blog entries on Prescribed Fire click on Education Options - 2015 Prescribed Fire - Plowing Firebreaks - 2014 Dry Weather Fire Threat - SCDNR Prescribed Fire 2013 Prescribed Fire - 2012 Prescribed Fire 2009 Wildfire - 2009 Prescribed Fire Council

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